Blades are a modern form of server technology that have a more efficient design than conventional servers, which cuts down on the excess components that are usually found in regular servers and makes room for the implementation of components that will help with the specified needs. This helps create more efficient use of physical space and energy.
Blades are packaged ultra-high density components that can be used toward a variety of services. The common uses include servers, storage of data, and communication interfaces. Blades are racked inside blade enclosures, which supply them with power, cooling and networking. BladeSystems have seen a high demand due to their high specialization, and because they have greatly increased the speed of programs and the capacity of data storage in a much smaller space compared to conventional server setups.
The BladeSystem forms part of the HP Converged Systems, which use a common Converged Infrastructure architecture for server, storage, and networking products. Designed for enterprise installations of 100 to more than 1,000 Virtual machines, the HP ConvergedSystem 700 is configured with BladeSystem servers. When managing a software-defined data center, a System administrator can perform automated lifecycle management for BladeSystems using HP OneView for converged infrastructure management.
Before the introduction of blade servers and specifically the BladeSystem, servers often took up a lot of space. The BladeSystem allows users to build a high density system, up to 128 servers in each rack.
Currently HP offers 2 types of enclosures in its Bladesystem lineup
HP c7000 enclosure was announced in June 2006. In 2007 there was a minor update including larger Onboard Administrator display (3" up from 2"). The next update was in 2009 and brought RoHS compatibility, increased backplane speed (5Tb/s up from 4Tb/s) and 1Gb/s Outboard Administrator connectivity. Fourth version - c7000 Platinum was announced in February 2013. It features location discovery services, thermal discovery services and redesigned backplane. The new backplane increased aggregate bandwidth 40% from 5 to 7 Tbit/s to allow use newest high-speed interconnect modules (such as 16Gbit/s FC and 56Gbit/s FDR InfiniBand). Also the new Platinum Plus rating power supplies were announced with higher efficiency than previous Gold Plus rating power supplies.
All versions of the enclosure occupy 10 rack units and can accommodate up to 16 half-height blade servers. It includes space for 6 power supplies (single-phase, three-phase or a -48V DC), 10 cooling fans, 8 single-wide (such as Gigabit Ethernet or FC) or 4 double-wide (such as 40Gb Ethernet or Infiniband) interconnect modules (that allows for up to 4 redundant interconnect fabrics)
HP c3000 enclosure was announced in August 2007. Updated version of the enclosure called c3000 Platinum was announced in February 2013
All versions of the enclosure occupy 6 rack units or can be used as a standalone unit (with optional tower conversion kit) It can accommodate up to 8 half-height blade servers. It includes space for 6 power supplies (single-phase, or a -48V DC), 6 cooling fans, 4 single-wide or 2 single-wide and one double-wide interconnect modules
HP offers general-purpose Proliant server blades as well as Integrity (based on Intel Itanium CPU) and specialized Proliant aimed at workstation virtualization. Servers can use half-height/full-height and single-wide/double-wide/quad-wide formfactors. Apart from built-in Ethernet network adapters, optional mezzanine cards can be installed to further increase connectivity options.
In current generation (Gen8) half-height Proliant blade servers with up to 2 CPU and full-height 4 CPU servers are available.
Several networking options are available for the HP Bladesystem, these include but are not limited to :
- HP's propiatary Virtual Connect modules
- Cisco switches and fabric extenders
- Gigabit networks switches
- HP Procurve switches
- HP Comware based switches
- Passthrough modules
- Mellanox Infiniband
- Brocade SAN-switches
- Cisco SAN-switches
Storage options include:
- Internal server HDD's (usually 2 to 4 with hot-swap capabality)
- Internal USB, SD or microSD slot (can be used for installing hypervisor)
- Connecting to external SAN via FC, SAS or iSCSI mezzanine card
- Storage blade (with large number of internal HDD's)
- Tape blade (half-height blade unit hosting LTO tape drive and designed to connect to adjacent blade server)
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- Morgan, Timothy Prickett. (2013-4-29). “HP mashes up ProLiant, Integrity, BladeSystem, and Moonshot server business,” The Register.com. 
- Tiano, Luigi. (2013-9-28). “HP OneView Managing the Converged Infrastructure Data Center,” 1CloudRoad. 
- "HP Puts 1000 Cores in a Single Rack". Tom's Hardware. June 11, 2008. Retrieved 14 Apr 2013.
- http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/19/hp_bladesystem_chassis_switch_workstation/. Missing or empty